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Monkey puzzle        

Araucaria araucana

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Belonging to the Araucaria genus, Monkey puzzle has a botanical name of Araucaria araucana.

This is a large conifer about 50m when mature, that grows with the main trunk clear of branches until the canopy is reached, in the top few metres. The branches are covered in shiny, dark green, spiny scales. They are broad and ovelapping at their base, covering the branch evenly and giving a ‘tail’ like appearance.
Cones are formed during the summer and ripen in the early autumn, changing from dark green to brown. Taking two rears to ripen fully. The seed is a brown, narrow, pyrimidal shape, whith a tough woody coat.
The bark is relatively smooth and entire with rings circling the trunk.

Blooms appear in these approximate colours:   Cocoa brown and   Forest green (web) and   Sap green. When mature, they grow to 15.0 cm (5.85 inches imperial) in diameter. The mature flowers are of an exotic form. When ripe, fruit appear in these approximate colours:   Brown and   Golden brown. Leaves appear approximately as a   Bottle green and   British racing green

Monkey puzzle grows as an evergreen and is a flowering edible conifer. Being an evergreen plant, it will keep its leaves throughout the year.

Monkey puzzle is known for growing with a tree habit to a height of approximately 30.00 metres (that's 97.50 feet in imperial). This plant tends to bloom in early autumn, followed by first harvests in early autumn.

Chile is believed to be where Monkey puzzle originates from.

Being a fairly low maintenance plant, Monkey puzzle is normally quite easy to grow provided a minimum level of care is given throughout the year. It will be helpful to note the correct soil, sun and water needs of this plant to ensure that this plant thrives.

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Monkey puzzle have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Monkey puzzle

  • Full Sun

  • High

Be sure you have enough room for this tree, it is quite tall, but fortunately grows very straight up.
Nearly always dioecious.

A full sun position will ensure your plant thrives and remember to water often. Keep in mind when planting that Monkey puzzle is thought of as half hardy, so it will require protection in frosts and low temperatures.

See our list of companion Plants for Monkey puzzle to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.

Growing Monkey puzzle from seed

Collect fresh seeds in early autumn, and select heavy seeds. Soak in water overnight. Select for planting the seeds that have sunk to the bottom. Plant pointed end down in gritty or compost with added vermiculite and leave about a quarter of the seed above ground. Germination is slow

Soil temperature should be kept higher than 10°C / 50°F to ensure good germination.

Transplanting Monkey puzzle

Tall and straight, so choose a site well away from overhead interference. Not a great spread on these trees so you may be able to squeeze on in your garden, neither do they do not cast much shade.

As Monkey puzzle is half hardy, ensure temperatures are mild enough to plant out (around -10°C / 14°F as a guideline) - wait until after your last frost date to be on the safe side.

Harvesting Monkey puzzle

Grown in isolation you may not be able to harvest the edible nuts on female trees. Two years for the seed to ripen, that then fall naturally from the tree in early autumn. The seed resemble Brazil nuts and are best eaten roasted, or better still germinate them and grow some more trees.

Seed Saving Monkey puzzle

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How long does Monkey puzzle take to grow?

These estimates for how long Monkey puzzle takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world.

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Monkey puzzle Etymology

The name comes from the native people of its country origin in Chile.

Monkey puzzle Folklore & Trivia

It is said that the seeds were collected from the Governor’s dinner table and returned in the pocket of Archibald Menzies who germinated them on his return voyage.

Other names for Monkey puzzle

Monkeypuzzle tree, Chile Pine

Araucaria araucana (Molina) K. Koch

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